Robin Van Persie is leaving, but is Player Power growing ever more in football?
Arsenal fans, you seem to have been here before, many a time. It seems that every year without fail your best player wants out. It seems that every year the captain of your team wants out. But as a fan of Manchester United, I can comprehend where you are coming from, after all Cristiano Ronaldo broke my heart in 2009.
Robin Van Persie, a man without whom statistics suggest Arsenal would have been mired in an unfashionable mid-table spot. His 30 Premier League goals in 2011/2012 season, somewhat single headedly saw Arsenal cement a 14th straight season in the UEFA Champions League and made sure that they stayed above Tottenham Hotspur as North London’s premier club! Yes Arsenal do have a vast array of talent within the squad, and agreed Van Persie was not the only reason they got to the Group Stages of this years Champions League, but many outsiders, such as myself, do see Arsenal as a one man club (or as close to one as can be). You see Van Persie is meant to be the inspirational captain, the focal point of this Arsenal team the man that everyone turns too as heads drop, but then again, wasn’t that meant to Cesc Fabregas, before him Thierry Henry and before him Patrick Vieria?
But you see Arsenal fans this is common place in today’s game! Its something called Player Power. We as fans hate it. We as fans unfortunately have to deal with it; our clubs have benefited from it and have suffered due to it. The fact is that more so than ever that today’s players hold the cards rather than the football clubs, it’s a somewhat sorry state of affairs.
In the 2006/2007 season one Cristiano Ronaldo had his best season in professional football, as he guided Manchester United to the Premier League title with 17 league goals. And with this excellent showing under his belt, rumours surfaced of interest from the mighty Real Madrid. Another amazing season in 2007/2008 in which Ronaldo collected an unbelievable 42 goals in all competitions for Manchester United and the rumours started again, but this time Ronaldo himself commented, saying that it was his dream to move to Real Madrid. One year later, Manchester United hearts were broken, after another top scoring season, CR7 decided to up sticks and leave in an earth shattering £80million transfer to his beloved Real Madrid. You see Arsenal fans; this was player power at its height. Arguably the world’s finest player at the time, Ronaldo pushed the move through using his love for Madrid as his bargaining tool, he was able to push this through, but Manchester United came back, winning the title in 2010/2011 and losing the title in 2009/2010 and 2011/2012 by the narrowest of margins possible. Again in 2010, player power reared its ugly head again, we were about to suffer again, with what looked like the impending departure of our talisman Wayne Rooney. A lack of ambition and a lack of money spent seemed to be the problem, this was remedied by excellent management by Sir Alex Ferguson. Wayne Rooney knew the potential to earn trophies was present and after Manchester United bettered the terms of his contract, a deal was agreed and signed. But as we proved with Ronaldo, there is life after your best player.
You yourselves should know this. Cesc Fabregas left in similar circumstances to Ronaldo, to fulfil his boyhood dream of playing week in, week out at the Nou Camp. After a 4th place finish in Fabregas’ last season, Arsenal finished last season in fine fettle, a 3rd place finish and automatic Champions League Qualification, an improvement, but why then is it happening again, why is the best player looking to leave?
Arsenal fans, you need to not blame Robin Van Persie for his decision to leave. I mean look at Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri before him and Theo Walcott after him. Players at your club are being allowed to leave, they are given the excuse of the club not progressing, and not challenging for trophies. What’s more disturbingly, their contracts are being allowed to run down, Theo Walcott only has one year to run on his contract. It looks to be the fault of not only Mr Wenger, but Mr Kroenke and Mr Gazidis, these are the men who should be answering the questions not Van Persie. So having said that, does it prove player power is rife in our beloved game? Van Persie knows that he can double his wage at Manchester City or at Real Madrid, therefore pushing the move through would benefit him and obviously be a of detriment to the club who stood by him through his numerous injuries.
The situation does not look to be improving. As an outsider looking in, Arsenal is not a happy home at the moment, and with Captain Fantastic on his way out, the question must remain, when, if ever, will Player Power finally come to an end at Arsenal, or will we keep on seeing the top talent at the Emirates leave for brighter futures, more money and of course trophies? Let me know your thoughts Arsenal…